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Paddy dwarfing: Everything you need to know about SRBSDV Fiji virus

Scientists have decoded the mystery disease afflicting paddy crops in Haryana and Punjab

Agriculture | Paddy | Viruses

BS Web Team  |  New Delhi 

Ample production will ensure India has enough rice supplies and allay concern about curbs on overseas sales, which could have a devastating impact on global food security.  (Photo: Bloomberg)
Representative Image

The Indian Research Institute (IARI) has stated that the disease-causing 'dwarfing' in rice plants across Haryana and Punjab is due to the Southern Rice Black-Streaked Dwarf Virus (SRBSDV), belonging to the genus Fijivirus.

SRBSDV is a virus with ten double-stranded RNA segments. It is transmitted by a white-backed plant hopper (WBPH). Apart from rice, it can also be found in several weed species.

IARI conducted surveys in 24 fields across Sonipat, Panipat, Karnal, Kurukshetra, Ambala, and Yamunanagar, according to a report by Indian Express (IE). The survey showed that the damage in the field ranged from 2 to 20 per cent. The highest damage was recorded in the fields of Panipat, with 20 per cent of the plants damaged by the virus.

"The affected plants showed a severely stunted appearance. The roots were poorly developed and turned brownish." According to IE, the infected plants can be easily pulled out, IARI told the Ministry.

The case of SRBSDV was first recorded in Southern China in 2001.

What is dwarfing?

The main symptoms of a plant suffering from the rice dwarf are stunting and the appearance of white chlorotic specks on its foliage. The height of the plant is restricted to 1/2 - 1/3rd as compared to normal plants.

These plants have shallow roots and can be uprooted easily. It is observed across almost all rice varieties, basmati and non-basmati. However, the symptoms are more prominent in early sown crops.

What steps can be taken to prevent rice dwarfing?

There is no exclusive corrective measure for viral diseases. But IARI has suggested the farmers monitor their fields continuously for the presence of WBPH.

The plants must be tilted and tapped twice or thrice at the base in a week.

If WBPH is seen floating in the water, insecticides like buprofezin, acetamiprid, dinotefuran or flonicamid can be sprayed.

Punjab University (PAU) has suggested that the plants be transplanted. This will not only save the plants from diseases but also help in saving water.

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First Published: Mon, August 29 2022. 12:17 IST